Just like other body organs, bones also require our attention and care. Bones are rigid connective tissue and constitute the basic framework of our skeleton, protect numerous organs, act as mineral reserves, produce blood cells, and permit various movements. With age, the bones become more brittle and vulnerable to fracture.
It becomes crucial to maintain bone health as we age. Osteoporosis (also known as a silent disease) is the most common senile skeletal disease, which includes low bone mass, a decline in bone minerals, and reduced bone strength. Osteoporosis can affect all bones in our skeleton system, but the hip, lower back vertebrae, knees, and wrist bones are at higher risk. Osteoporosis can affect both men and women, but women are more prone to osteoporosis, particularly after menopause.
How can weight training exercises be helpful for osteoporosis in women?
According to numerous studies, weight or strength training exercises can improve muscle mass and bone density and prevent bone loss with time. After menopause, women face hormonal changes, which contribute to numerous health issues, and bone loss is one of them.
If a woman has lower bone mass before menopause, then bone loss around menopause may result in osteoporosis. Therefore, taking care of your bone health is crucial. Weight training exercises help build bone mass that reduces the chances of developing osteoporosis in later life. Strength training exercises put pressure on bones that stimulate bone osteogenesis. It results in improved bone density in osteoporotic patients. According to numerous studies, after menopause, women may experience at least one fracture in their life due to lower bone density and osteoporosis.
In one study, health experts noticed those postmenopausal women who participated in a strength training program for a year significantly improved bone density in the hip and spine area.
Two types of strength training exercises are appropriate for an osteoporotic patient:
- Weight-bearing aerobic exercises: These exercises limit the progression of bone density loss and help maintain stability. You can include any aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, hiking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, and Tai chi, in your daily exercise routine.
- Strength exercises: You can perform these exercises with (weight lifting) or without (swimming and cycling) weight loading. These strength and resistance exercises help improve muscle and bone mass and prevent bone breakage due to osteoporosis.
How should we start weight training exercises for osteoporosis?
According to many health experts, osteoporotic patients should focus on the back, hips, and knees during weight training exercises. Before starting weight training exercises, a 10-15 minutes warm-up is crucial, as cold muscles are more prone to injury. Warming up with brisk walking or any aerobic exercise helps increase body temperature and blood flow to the exercising muscles.
You can perform weight training at home or in the gym with the help of resistance tubing, body weight, free weights, cable suspension training, or weight machines. You may choose a weight heavy enough to tire your muscles after a few repetitions and gradually increase them. To make muscle and bone stronger, you must take them to a fatigue level, which means you can’t perform another repetition.
Numerous studies show that a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions of strength training with proper weight is as effective as the three sets of the same exercise. Giving your muscles time to recover between workout sessions is as crucial as performing weight training. Therefore, one whole day of rest is necessary.
It is essential to use proper weight training techniques to avoid injuries and worsening symptoms. If you are new to weight training, talk to your doctor and work with a fitness specialist to explore the correct exercise that improves your bone health.
What are the benefits of a weight training exercise?
Weight training is an integral part of an overall wellness regime. It possesses numerous benefits, such as:
- With aging, our muscle mass decreases and body fat increases, but with a strength training routine, we can restore and enhance our muscle mass.
- Wight training exercises help increase bone density.
- It reduces the risk of osteoporosis and protects joints from injuries.
- Increased muscle mass helps in better balance and reduces the risk of falls.
- With regular strength training exercising, we can manage our body weight.
- It improves our metabolism.
- Weight training exercises can decrease the signs and symptoms of other chronic diseases, such as back pain, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
- Performing exercises and aerobics daily help improve thinking and learning ability in older age.
- It improves our performance in everyday activities, hence enhancing our quality of life.
When you incorporate weight training exercises into your daily workout routine, you may experience increased bone strength, improved muscle mass, and reduce signs and symptoms of osteoporosis and bone pain. Therefore, start doing these beneficial exercises and enhance your quality of life.
Dr. V. A. Senthil Kumar | HOD & Senior Consultant – Orthopaedics, Spine Surgery and Arthroscopy | Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi